Mitigating Red Blotch with Thyme Guard

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Growers following organic or sustainable practices are always looking for fungicide options that include organic products that don’t trigger the regulations for spray protocols or expose employees to harmful chemicals. In addition, the introduction of organic fungicides, insecticides, bactericides and virucides allows growers much greater flexibility in their application. Organic products introduce new biology to crops, creating diversity which leads to improved efficiency of conventional crop protection products as well. Thyme Guard is not only an excellent fungicide but it’s a terrific insecticide, destroying the trachea and eggs of small sucking insects like mites as well as impacting their GABA neurotransmission. As a result of these capabilities, Andaman Ag has been promoting Thyme Guard now for over a year. Thyme Guard has 23% Thyme Oil Extract, and no other product in the market is available in such pure form.

Andaman Ag had significant success last year when we applied Thyme Guard to vineyards that were expressing Red Blotch (RB). Thyme Guard was able to mitigate the expression of Red Blotch and the vines continued to increase brix to the level targeted by the vineyard. The entire block where we had applied Thyme Guard was completely harvested, something that hadn’t occurred in 2 years. We also discovered how well Thyme Guard works as a systemic fungicide mitigating mold development after late-season rains. Here is a video of the vineyard manager talking about his experience last season with Thyme Guard.

This season we are working diligently to independently validate the results that we produced last season. We’ve established a field trial and identified RB+ and RB- vines. We’re working with an independent researcher to measure qPCR, which is being used to track the concentration of the RB virus. We are also working with WineXray to measure anthrocyanins and brix throughout the season to harvest. The trial progress and results are being shared with Professor Marc Fuchs at Cornell University.

Given Thyme Guard’s excellent fungicidal properties, we’re suggesting that growers rotate Thyme Guard in with their current fungicide program as a potential early disruptor of RB+ and apply Thyme Guard in late July and early August when Red Blotch tends to become prevalent. Given the lack of options available for growers when confronted with Red Blotch, Andaman Ag is diligently working to assist our growers in all ways possible, and we’ll continue to research and trial new products as they come along in the hope of finding less costly and destructive alternatives than the replacement of vines when dealing with Red Blotch.